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01.11.2018 | Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease (ND Wong, Section Editor) | Ausgabe 11/2018

Current Cardiology Reports 11/2018

Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor Agonists and Cardiovascular Risk Reduction in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Is It a Class Effect?

Current Cardiology Reports > Ausgabe 11/2018
Yixing Li, Paul D. Rosenblit
Wichtige Hinweise
This article is part of the Topical Collection on Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease


Purpose of Review

Mimetics and analogs that extend the half-life of native glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), i.e., glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs), at therapeutic doses, are indicated as adjuncts to diet and exercise, to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). In patients with T2DM, GLP-1 RAs not only affect improvements in impaired beta cell and alpha cell function, suppress appetite, and induce weight loss but also possess multiple cardiovascular protective properties that potentially have a beneficial impact on atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) morbidity and mortality.

Recent Findings

Required to demonstrate CV safety, compared to standard-of-care antidiabetic therapies, GLP-1 RAs have revealed statistically significant non-inferiority (p < 0.001), among CV outcome trials (CVOTs) thus far completed. Once-daily liraglutide and once-weekly semaglutide demonstrated significant superiority (p = 0.01 and p = 0.02, respectively), reducing 3-point composite major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) in extreme risk secondary prevention adults with T2DM. Once-weekly exenatide demonstrated only a non-significant (p = 0.06) favorable trend for CV superiority, possibly due to in-trial mishaps, including placebo drop-ins with other CV protective medications. The short half-life lixisenatide was neutral (p = 0.81) in reducing MACE, most likely due to ineffective once-daily dosing. Structural differences among GLP-1 mimetics and analogs may explain potency differences in both A1C reduction and weight loss that may parallel important cardiovascular protective properties of the GLP-1 RA class.


Significant superiority in reducing 3-point composite MACE in adults with T2DM with GLP-1 RAs has been limited to liraglutide and semaglutide. Careful attention to within-trial drop-in of cardioprotective antidiabetic agents assuring equipoise between placebo and investigational product groups might demonstrate significant MACE risk reduction with once-weekly exenatide. Maintenance of 24-h circulating levels, by an alternative administration method, may resurrect lixisenatide as a cardioprotective agent. Before a GLP-1 RA bioequivalence “class effect” claim for composite MACE risk reduction superiority can be fully discussed, we are obliged to wait for the pending results of CVOTs with other GLP-1 RAs, particularly albiglutide and dulaglutide, where steric hindrance may potentially inhibit full mimicry of pharmacologic GLP-1.

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